Seton Hall advances to Big East Championship with 4-3 win over ButlerDate: May 26, 2018
By Dalton Allison
Behind the strong start of Billy Layne Jr., the Seton Hall Pirates were able to advance to the championship round of the Big East Tournament after defeating the Butler Bulldogs 4-3 on Saturday.
Following a blowout victory over the Georgetown Hoyas, the Pirates earned the opportunity to get retribution over the Bulldogs, who defeated them 2-1 in 13 innings on Friday.
Much like Friday, Seton Hall was able to get on the board in the bottom of the first. It was once again Al Molina that drove a solo home run to center field to give the Pirates an early 1-0 advantage. From there, Layne Jr. took the reins and was in control of the game.
Although he allowed five hits to the Bulldogs, Layne Jr. never let them cross the board. Over his six innings of work, Layne Jr. struck out nine, walked two, and threw 98 pitches. Those strikeouts often came at key moments for the starter, as he had put himself into jams multiple times throughout his outing.
While Layne Jr. was working on the mound, the offense of the Pirates was putting in their fair share of work. It also could be said that the Butler defense did the work for the Pirates. Seton Hall was able to tack on two runs in the bottom of the fourth, starting with Sebastiano Santorelli stealing second base. Mike Alescio then ripped a double, driving in Santorelli. The next at bat, Alescio was driven home following a throwing error by Butler starter Garret Christman on a weak dribbler by Ryan Ramiz.
After tacking on an additional run in the fifth from another Butler throwing error, Seton Hall appeared to have complete control over the game with a commanding 4-0 lead.
With Layne Jr. coming out of the game after six innings, Corey Sawyer came into the game for the Pirates in relief. After allowing a leadoff home run to Connor Dall, Sawyer dug the Pirates into even more trouble by giving up a two run shot to Gehrig Parker to make the game 4-3.
Matt Leon would come into the game in the top of the eighth, which he pitched seamlessly. There would be more trouble in the ninth though, as there was a Bulldog on third with two away. Leon eventually earned the save for the Pirates on a fly out however, and the Pirates were able to take the game 4-3.
Following the victory, the Pirates advance to the Big East Championship round, where they will have to defeat St. John's twice to win the tournament. The first game is slated to begin at 1pm.
Dalton Allison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org